If you suffer from diabetes it is imperative that you take good care of your feet, particularly as you get older. But why is that, and how can the footwear you choose make a difference?
In this article we hope to offer you a little insight, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning…
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high which can have a number of noticeable effects on many different parts of your body and can adversely affect your quality of life.
A high blood sugar level can cause you to feel thirsty and therefore pass urine more frequently, particularly at night, and can lead to feelings of tiredness all of the time. This can affect your daily life at home or at work.
There are two main types of diabetes specified as “Type 1” and “Type 2”.
“Type 1” diabetes is caused when the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and this is often a condition from birth or developed at a young age and is the less common type of the condition.
“Type 2” diabetes is caused when a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or their body’s cells don’t react to insulin, meaning glucose stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy.
“Type 2” diabetes is the most common and is often associated with obesity. It tends to be diagnosed in older people and approximately 90 percent of the 4.7 million people living with the condition in the UK suffer from “Type 2” diabetes*. Sadly, the number of people in the UK with diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) is rising rapidly making it is a growing problem in the UK and around the world.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN IT CAUSE?
Diabetes may seem like a relatively benign medical condition to suffer from, but it can lead to a number of serious long-term health problems including vision loss, blindness, kidney failure or stroke. Diabetes is also responsible for the most cases of lower limb amputation (other than accidents).
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY PAINFUL FEET?
Diabetes is associated with poor blood circulation in the feet and other extremities and blood glucose can cause damage to nerves. This, in turn, can cause diabetics to develop problems with their feet, including foot ulcers and infections from minor cuts and grazes.
These problems often become more serious in elderly sufferers where cuts, blisters or grazes caused by ill-fitting or rubbing footwear can go undetected and untreated due to the lack of feeling due to nerve damage and the person’s physical inability to check their feet on their own due to age related mobility issues.
To prevent problems with your feet, it is recommended that you keep your nails short and wash your feet daily using warm water. Wear shoes that fit properly, and see a podiatrist (foot care specialist) regularly so that any problems can be detected early.
CAN DIABETIC FOOTWEAR HELP?
It is quite simple really… but diabetics must wear footwear that really fits properly!
Footwear must be soft, supportive and forgiving when you walk, with plenty of padding around the foot, toes and ankle. You should look for footwear that is also seam-free inside, to prevent them rubbing on your sensitive feet as you walk. You should also consider diabetic friendly socks that have smooth seams around the toes for the same reason!
You must ensure that you find footwear that is a wide enough fitting, particularly if you suffer from wider than average or swollen feet.
There is no point trying to squeeze your feet into footwear that is too narrow and hoping that they will “wear-in”. All you will do is cause yourself to have painful feet and it could lead to some of the more serious diabetic foot problems. Correctly fitting footwear will fit and feel comfortable straight away.
Look out for footwear that features removable insoles to adjust the fit to each particular foot as this can ensure the perfect fit, in fact this applies regardless of whether you suffer from diabetes!
Sandpiper are a family-owned, specialist brand of footwear providing diabetic friendly footwear and socks in extra wide fitting.
Their range includes shoes, boots, slippers and sandals for both ladies and gentleman and they are recommended by hundreds of footcare professionals around the country because they acknowledge that Sandpiper footwear are good for feet.
To request a FREE BROCHURE for Sandpiper shoes please CALL FREE on 0800 8223133 or go online to see the full range at www.sandpipershoes.com
* Figures published by Diabetes UK, February 2019